What does vanilla mean?

Definitions for vanillavəˈnɪl ə or, often, -ˈnɛl ə

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word vanilla.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. vanilla(noun)

    any of numerous climbing plants of the genus Vanilla having fleshy leaves and clusters of large waxy highly fragrant white or green or topaz flowers

  2. vanilla, vanilla extract(noun)

    a flavoring prepared from vanilla beans macerated in alcohol (or imitating vanilla beans)

  3. vanilla(adj)

    a distinctive fragrant flavor characteristic of vanilla beans

  4. vanilla(adj)

    flavored with vanilla extract

    "he liked vanilla ice cream"

  5. vanilla(adj)

    plain and without any extras or adornments

    "the most common type of bond is the straight or plain vanilla bond"; "the basic car is known as the vanilla version"


  1. vanilla(Noun)

    Any tropical, climbing orchid of the genus Vanilla (especially Vanilla planifolia), bearing podlike fruit yielding an extract used in flavoring food or in perfumes.

  2. vanilla(Noun)

    The fruit or bean of the vanilla plant.

  3. vanilla(Noun)

    The extract of the fruit of the vanilla plant.

  4. vanilla(Noun)

    The distinctive fragrant flavour/flavor characteristic of vanilla extract.

    You can tell that the secret ingredient missing from New Coke was vanilla, because certain South American economies collapsed when it was introduced, and miraculously revived when the old formula was used again.

  5. vanilla(Noun)

    Any artificially produced homologue of vanilla extract, principally vanillin produced from lignin from the paper industry or from petrochemicals.

  6. vanilla(Adjective)

    By association with vanilla as the "plain" flavour of ice cream: the standard, plain, default, unmodified, basic.

    vanilla suit.

  7. Origin: From vainilla, diminunitive of vaina

Webster Dictionary

  1. Vanilla(noun)

    a genus of climbing orchidaceous plants, natives of tropical America

  2. Vanilla(noun)

    the long podlike capsules of Vanilla planifolia, and V. claviculata, remarkable for their delicate and agreeable odor, for the volatile, odoriferous oil extracted from them; also, the flavoring extract made from the capsules, extensively used in confectionery, perfumery, etc

  3. Origin: [NL., fr. Sp. vainilla, dim. of Sp. vaina a sheath, a pod, L. vagina; because its grains, or seeds, are contained in little pods.]


  1. Vanilla

    Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, flat-leaved vanilla. The word vanilla, derived from the diminutive of the Spanish word vaina, simply translates as little pod. Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples cultivated the vine of the vanilla orchid, called tlilxochitl by the Aztecs, and Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés is credited with introducing both vanilla and chocolate to Europe in the 1520s. Initial attempts to cultivate vanilla outside Mexico and Central America proved futile because of the symbiotic relationship between the vanilla orchid and its natural pollinator, the local species of Melipona bee. Pollination is required to set the fruit from which the flavoring is derived. In 1837, Belgian botanist Charles François Antoine Morren discovered this fact and pioneered a method of artificially pollinating the plant. The method proved financially unworkable and was not deployed commercially. In 1841, Edmond Albius, a 12-year-old slave who lived on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, discovered the plant could be hand-pollinated. Hand-pollination allowed global cultivation of the plant.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Vanilla

    va-nil′a, n. the dried aromatic sheath-like pod or fruit of a tropical epiphytal orchid, a favourite confection.—adj. Vanill′ic. [Latinised from Fr. vanille—Sp. vainillavaina—L. vagina, a sheath.]

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. vanilla

    [from the default flavor of ice cream in the U.S.] Ordinary flavor, standard. When used of food, very often does not mean that the food is flavored with vanilla extract! For example, vanilla wonton soup means ordinary wonton soup, as opposed to hot-and-sour wonton soup. Applied to hardware and software, as in “Vanilla Version 7 Unix can't run on a vanilla 11/34.” Also used to orthogonalize chip nomenclature; for instance, a 74V00 means what TI calls a 7400, as distinct from a 74LS00, etc. This word differs from canonical in that the latter means ‘default’, whereas vanilla simply means ‘ordinary’. For example, when hackers go on a great-wall, hot-and-sour soup is the canonical soup to get (because that is what most of them usually order) even though it isn't the vanilla (wonton) soup.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Vanilla

    A plant genus of the family ORCHIDACEAE that is the source of the familiar flavoring used in foods and medicines (FLAVORING AGENTS).


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of vanilla in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of vanilla in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Matthew Crow:

    American white oak gives a vanilla, coconut, creamy kind of flavor.

  2. Terpsichore Lindeman:

    If vanilla is so widely accepted then why do they have 31 flavors? Normal is not the norm.

  3. Boey Yin Chong:

    Banks that look at plain vanilla deals only or just buyout event deals have felt the strain.

  4. Jeb Bush:

    That concept's been challenged tonight after I've had my blueberry pie, if I had had vanilla ice cream on top of it, I probably would have never gone back.

  5. Matt Meyers:

    When I was young my family would always go out for cones together and our dad would get our little black poodle a small vanilla ice cream. I’ll never forget how excited she got.

Images & Illustrations of vanilla

  1. vanillavanillavanilla

Translations for vanilla

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"vanilla." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 19 Feb. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/vanilla>.

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